Multimodal Core-Shell Nanoparticles for Stem Cell Research

Angewandte Chemie Hot Paper

Stem cells have enormous potential as engraftable sources of cells in the field of regenerative medicine, owing to their ability to self-renew as well as differentiate into specialized cells. However, the clinical success of these stem-cell-based therapies is severely hampered by the inability to deliver genetic materials into stem cells efficiently, to direct their differentiation. In this regard, it is vital to deliver genetic materials in an efficient and biocompatible manner without altering the inherent stem cell properties as well as to monitor these stem cells noninvasively for long-term evaluation of therapy.

These challenges were the main driving force behind the research of Birju Shah, Perry T. Yin, Shraboni Ghoshal, and Professor Ki-Bum Lee, whose research was recently published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition and was selected by the Editor as one of the journal's "Hot Papers" for its importance in a rapidly evolving field. Specifically, this work describes the development of multimodal core-shell nanoparticles (MCNPs), composed of a magnetic core and plasmonic gold shell for inducing the neuronal differentiation of stem cells as well as for the non-invasive imaging of living cells. The magnetic core allows us to deliver nanoparticle–biomolecule constructs into difficult-to-transfect stem cells with a high transfection efficiency and in a significantly shorter time-frame. Moreover, it can act as an MRI contrast agent, which can be used in the future to track MCNP-transfected stem cells non-invasively in vivo. On the other hand, the plasmonic gold shell affords dark-field imaging capabilities to the nanoparticles in addition to improving their biocompatibility, solubility and stability in physiological conditions. Using these novel nanoparticles, we have demonstrated that they possess a number of advantages with regards to stem-cell applications owing to their multiple functions resulting from their composition (a magnetic core with a plasmonic gold outer-shell) and hence can be a potentially powerful tool for stem cell research.

Publication: 

"Multimodal Magnetic Core–Shell Nanoparticles for Effective Stem-Cell Differentiation and Imaging", Birju Shah, Perry T. Yin, Shraboni Ghoshal, Prof. Ki-Bum Lee, Article first published online: May 6, 2013, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201302245

Group Members: 
Prof. KiBum Lee
Prof. KiBum Lee
Birju Shah
Birju Shah
Perry Yin
Perry Yin
Year of Research Highlight: 
2013